Editor's Note: Serving the Political Web

By Kevin Reichard (Send Email)
Posted Nov 2, 2000


Now that we're entering the home streches of local and national elections, interest in individual candidates has picked up -- and, as a result, the Web sites run by candidates and parties are experienced greater prominence and higher traffic. Whether because of known performance under heavy user loads -- or a low price tag -- Apache Web server usage in the political field exceeds Apache usage in the general Internet. Kevin Reichard looks at the major candidates and their party organizations through their Web sites.

Not surprisingly, the Apache Web server was in wide usage among candidates and parties -- in proportions that exceed the Internet as a whole. We spent some time using Netcraft to check out what sites were running what. Not surprisingly, the Apache Web server was in wide usage among candidates and parties -- in proportions that exceed the Internet as a whole. While we don't want to draw any political conclusions from the usage, it is interesting to note that the more rebellious the candidate -- on either end of the spectrum -- the more likely they were to use Apache.

This is evidenced by the George W. Bush Web site, which is currently running on Microsoft IIS 5.0 and Windows 2000 -- the set-up you'd expect from the Republican flagbearer. In fact, the total site is Microsoft-centric, using ASP pages and stressing Microsoft-encrypted multimedia files (although RealAudio files are available). Similarly, the Republican National Committee Web site is running on Microsoft IIS 4.0 and Windows NT.

The Al Gore Web site, in contrast, runs Apache 1.3.12, with PHP 4.0.1 and Raven/1.5.1, on Linux. The site is more straightforward, using a slew of HTML pages and multimedia in a wide variety of formats, including MP3. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, uses Netscape-Enterprise/2.01 on AIX.

The two highest-profile rebels in the race -- Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan -- have two different approaches to Web serving. The Ralph Nader Web site runs Apache/1.3.12, with AuthMySQL and PHP/4.0.0, on BSD/OS; the Green Party Web site runs Apache/1.3.9, with FrontPage extensions, JServ, and PHP/3.0.12, on Linux. Conversely, the Pat Buchanan Web site runs Microsoft-IIS/4.0 on Windows NT; there is no separate Web site for the Buchanan Reform Party.

Other third-party candidates were almost universal in their support of Apache and Open Source technologies. Harry Browne Web site runs on Apache/1.2.5, with FrontPage support, on BSD/OS; the Libertarian Party Web site similarly uses Apache/1.3.12 and PHP/3.0.16 on FreeBSD. John Hagelin's Web site runs Apache/1.3.4, with JServ/1.1.1, PHP/3.0.9, and FrontPage extensions, on Linux; the Natural Law Web site runs on Rapidsite and IRIX. The Vote Socialist Web site -- which serves both the Socialist Party and candidate David McReynolds -- runs Apache/1.3.6 and FrontPage extensions on CompaqTru64. Finally, the Howard Phillips Web site is on a Microsoft-IIS/4.0 and Windows NT; in contrast, the Constitution Party runs Apache/1.3.1.1, with SSL/1.15 and PHP/4.0b2, on BSD/OS.

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